Vancouver, BC- The first recorded association football match in Canada took place in 1859 in Toronto,ON. That’s also the moment Canada’s mediocrity and often disappointing outings in soccer began.
In 2020, despite the women’s national team flourishing over the last two decades, Canada largely continues to struggle on the international pitch and it’s a tune that has carried over to the electronic field in recent weeks.
FISU, the international govering body for university sports held the inaugural FISU eFootball Challenge which was contested worldwide on the Playstation 4. Canada had two representatives from the University of Windsor, both of whom continued Canada’s struggles in the footballing world.
Men’s Tournament- Happy Ananum (0-3)
In 1986, Canada’s lone FIFA Men’s World Cup appearance, the team didn’t win a game, they didn’t even score a goal before they were packing their bags away from Mexico.
For Happy Ananum, Canda’s representative in the eFootball challenge, he’s lucky he was competition from home- he didn’t have to pack a bag. While he did score a goal through his three group games, something 1986 Canada failed to do, Ananum was overwhelmed at every moment.
Against Mexico’s Jose Carmelo Licea Hernandez of the University of Queretaro in his first game, he lost 11-1. At no point in the match was he in control, from kickoff it was all dominated by Hernandez, who did not let up, putting 11 goals past Ananum.
In his second game of the round-robin, Ananum channelled his inner 1986 Team Canda and lost 2-0 to Abdulla Khalifa Al Hebsi of the United Arab Emirates. In the 1986 FIFA World Cup tournament, Canada dropped matches against Hungary and the Soviet Union both 2-0, so Ananum was just sticking to the script of Canadian soccer.
In his final match of the group stage, Ananum fell 11-0 to his Iranian counterpart. Although it was enjoyable to see a Candian go up against the international competition, it was unfortunate that Anaum was unable to make much of an impact.
Women’s Tournament: Sudiksha Khanduja (1-4)
Sudiksha Khanduja, also from the University of Windsor made history for Canada when she beat Jasleen Badyal of India’s Lovely Professional University 6-0 and collected Canada’s first-ever university eSports victory.
The dominant 6-0 win was Canada’s only of the competition, as she dropped her four other games by a combined score of 32-1. It wasn’t a great tournament, and Khanduja failed to make it out of the group stage, but she made history with Canada’s first win.
In a post-tournament comment, Khhanduja said “It was a great experience. I got to learn a lot and meet a lot of new people,” said Khanduja. “It was very informative watching other people play and seeing how they implement all the tactics. It’s great exposure for Canada and I’m honoured.”
The FISU FIFA 20 eFootball Challenge was the first of it’s kind, and is the final FISU international competition in 2020, following the cancellations of the majority of this year’s World University Championships, as well as the 2nd FISU America Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cover Photo: Canada Soccer Archives